The ad on TV finished with the company’s slogan: “Life’s better when we’re connected.” It sparked in me how true that is, but I wasn’t thinking about banking at all. I thought of the bonds that tie us together as Christ-followers, making us One Body and Christ the head. I thought of women sitting around the table listening close, sharing their stories– what God is teaching them as they live out the days they have been given. Of letting each other into sorrows and concerns, being honest about how hard it is to grow sometimes. Of tears and soul-baring and the box of tissues passed around yet again. How there are hugs in the hallway and whispers of “praying for you,” meals brought to the doorstep and willing hands to help. No question, life is better when we’re connected, and the burdens lighten and hearts are strengthened on the journey.
When the Church-planter Paul talks about Christ-followers being connected there is an unmistakable whiff of joy, and the threads of thankfulness and praise start running through his words again. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) I see this– as God’s truth takes up residence in our hearts and we take residence in His presence– how rich our connections with each other become. And it makes sense that there is joy, because Jesus promised that “… where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew18:20) Wind, fire, breath of God moving among us, invisible and life-changing, the very presence of the One who is called Exceeding Joy.
It’s the way God meant for us to live, all the branches connected to the One Vine and thus to one another. Is it any wonder we would grow better that way?
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15